The lack of appropriately qualified teachers in South Africa is growing rapidly and frequency of debates about the decline in teacher numbers in South Africa is increasing. In this study, the results of an investigation into possible factors that impact on the career choice of student teachers are reported. The reasons why first-year student teachers at the University of Pretoria chose teaching as a career were studied by using a non-experimental design (survey design; administering a non-standardised questionnaire). The results revealed inter alia that a number of factors influence the career choice of first-year student teachers. Trends that emerged from the current study include the following: many more women than men enter the teaching profession; relatively few students who speak an African language choose education as a field of study and the role of parents in helping their children to choose a career cannot be underestimated.
This article is an adapted version of an article that appeared recently in a local, Afrikaans-only journal (Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie), which is
totally different from the readership of the International Journal for Adolescence and Youth (IJAY). The editorial staff of the journal granted the authors permission to publish the article in IJAY or any other journal with a different, English readership.